Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Obama: I'm Not Ready

First, as reported by ABC News, in February, 2007 it was stating that in Iraq, "we have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted." Senator Obama apologized for that one, although Persian Gulf War II has cost now over 3500 American lives, increased terrorism, damaged our standing abroad, and left us woefully unprepared to combat national security threats elsewhere (or there) in the world. Sure, it was a classic politician's apology- "I would absolutely apologize if any (military families) felt that in some ways it had diminished the enormous courage and sacrifice that they'd shown." (Translation: I'm not apologizing just now, but if you're somehow- "in some ways"- offended, then I will apologize.) But it nevertheless was a misstep in the campaign.
Then, it was the Clinton connection to the Indian government and Indian interests - investments by the candidate and the would-be first gentleman in India, fund-raising among Indian Americans, and Mr. Clinton's speaking fees from Cisco, a champion of out-sourcing. A memorandum sent out by Obama's staff was headlined "Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)" In an interview with the Associated Press, the Illinois Senator labeled the memo "unnecessarily caustic" and a "dumb mistake" and in an interviw with India Abroad (reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) conceded that the concerns of the Indian-American community regarding the memo are "entirely justified." (This, a rarity among politicians- a real apology.) Never mind that the national chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education had introduced Senator Clinton at a fundraiser as Senator "not only from New York but also Punjab." Never mind that this remark, according to, was followed immediately by Mrs. Clinton remarking "I can certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily." This was, as Senator Obama recognized, a major public relations gaffe, requiring a quick and definitive retraction/apology.
Now, something extraordinary. Huffington Post reports that Barack Obama at a fundraiser has commented "the only person who would probably be ready to be our President on Day One would be Bill Clinton-not Hillary Clinton."
Barack Obama is a reasonably experienced, gifted, unusually intelligent member of the United States Congress who has an inspiring life story to tell; a progressive record; and early opposition to the Iraq war to herald. And he tells us he is not qualified to be President. And tells the media. And tells the Republican opposition. And tells Bill Clinton, who would wisely respond by assuring us that not only is Senator Clinton qualified to be President on "Day One," she is more qualified than even he was at that time. (Debatable, but reasonable.) And tells Hillary Clinton herself, who can burnish her national security credentials (obviously a prime aim of her campaign) by telling us that in such a dangerous word, with the "War on Terror," proliferation of nuclear weapons, our soldiers defending us abroad, etc., a President must be ready to defend our country from the moment he or she is inaugurated. And if Barack Obama somehow is nominated for President, I think it unlikely that his Republican opponent will concede that he himself is unqualified to be President (oh, yeah, on Day One).

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